Books for Bolans

As I traveled more than 2,000 miles to San José to serve with City Year, a good friend of mine named Ryan Jones also traveled more than 2,000 miles for service. He joined the Peace Corps and began serving the people of Bolans, Antigua in the Caribbean.

During an e-mail exchange back in September, he mentioned a library project he was working on.  He was making improvements to a library at a primary school in Bolans. The project was a slow process and despite being finished, he is still in great need of books relevant to children. He described the current collection in his blog,

“I was astonished to find there among the books a collection of medical school encyclopedias from the 1970s, dozens of dense textbooks written for undergraduate college students, explicit romance novels, and stacks of free tourist magazines.”

There is an obvious need, and you can help.

Below I have included details on how to help taken from Ryan’s Peace Corps Blog:

We’ve established a partnership with Hands Across the Sea, a non-profit charitable organization. They’ve allowed for us two different ways to have donors contribute.

First — If you would like to send excellent quality, gently used books, please send them via USPS media mail to their Massachusetts warehouse. The address is on their book drop page, and here is the link.

Please put Ryan Jones somewhere on or in the box, so that they know to send the contribution to Bolans Primary. Be sure to keep track of the number of books you send and the shipping receipt, so you can claim them as an in-kind donation for a 501c3.

Second – If you would rather not go to the trouble to collect and ship books, then please send them a donation and they will use the funds to buy books for Bolans Primary. Here is the link to their donation page.

We can pick out new books for the school using our Scholastic Literacy Partners connection. Many Peace Corps volunteers have spent anywhere from $200 to $500 at Scholastic Literacy Partners connection, and the costs run about $2.50 to $4.00 a book, which is very inexpensive for new Scholastic books. The bulk of the books Hands Across the Sea will buy come from “Friends of the Library” book sales, so if you prefer to donate cash, this is where it will go.  Any donation you make to Hands Across the Sea is tax deductible.

Shipping takes place each year in October for the November arrival. This past year Hands Across the Sea shipped 23 pallets to 46 schools and 8 libraries and community reading programs in the Eastern Caribbean. Free shipping has been arranged within the US from MA to FL, and free ocean freight from FL to the islands.

If you would like to see the schools Hands Across the Sea helped in 2010, please see their wish list page. Please note that the list has not yet been updated for 2011.

Dan Maurath, Corps Member CYSJ

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